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How Accurate are Pregnancy Tests? Here’s Everything You Need to Know!

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When it comes to something as life-changing as a pregnancy test, nobody has the time to mess with haphazard, second-rate results.

As a woman who knows all too well how stressful the wait for those thin blue lines can be, I know that we all want to know that the pregnancy test we take will provide accurate results…even if they’re not the ones we want.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “So, how accurate are pregnancy tests?”, you’re not alone!

Women the world over spend time scanning the drugstore shelves for the latest in pregnancy testing technology. If you want the best, most precise results, there are a few things you should know!

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HCG Pregnancy Test Results: The Most Accurate Testing Option 

In your search for answers to the question, “How accurate are pregnancy tests?”, you might be looking for a definitive answer on the most accurate option available. Unfortunately, if dependable results are your primary concern, you’re not going to find them in the family planning aisle of your local pharmacy.

When it comes to the best pregnancy test possible, you’ll need to make an appointment with your physician to have a blood pregnancy test performed.

What is HCG?

So, you’ve started noticing successful implantation symptoms, like light bleeding or mild cramping. Once this stage is complete, your body will begin to produce a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)

After fertilization and implantation have occurred, your placenta will begin to form. As this happens, the placenta will also start producing HCG.

HCG is detectable in pregnancy and fertility blood tests. Once your baby starts to develop, the amount of HCG in your system will begin to multiply quickly. As the hormone levels increase, your doctor can use them to prove whether or not pregnancy has occurred.

Fun Fact: Not only are HCG pregnancy test results the best option for curious parents, but HCG is also responsible for many of the unusual early pregnancy signs you’ll have to look forward to!

Blood pregnancy tests can usually determine whether you’re pregnant within six-to-eight days after ovulation has occurred. 

Many women aren’t interested in waiting that long for answers, or they don’t want to make an appointment with their doctor. For cases like this, it’s no wonder they start to wonder about the best pregnancy test to grab from the store.

Answering the Big Question: Can a Pregnancy Test Be Wrong?

Did you know that each year women in the United States take approximately 20 million pregnancy tests? The question is, however, how much of these tests are inaccurate?

Over the past decade, research concluded that up to 5% of those pregnancy tests yielded false negative results. 

While many drugstore brand pregnancy tests claim they offer 99% accuracy, this isn’t always the case. False pregnancy tests unfortunately do occur more than we would like to believe they do. 

There are many common reasons you might receive an incorrect, false negative, including:

  • Taking the test too soon: If you take a pregnancy test before enough HCG is present in your blood, it will probably turn up as negative.
  • Using “bad” pee: When you take a pregnancy test using diluted urine, it can mess up the results. For the most accurate results, take your test with your first-morning uring (fmu).
  • Checking the results too early: Pregnancy tests come with specific information on how to use the products. If you check your test before the designated “wait time” is up, you won’t get an accurate read of the results.
woman's hands holding negative pregnancy test sitting under a blanket on a bed

Can a Positive Pregnancy Test Be Wrong?

While not as common as false negative tests, it is possible to receive a false positive pregnancy test. 

There can be several different causes for this type of situation, including:

How Accurate Are Pregnancy Tests Before a Missed Period?

Trust me; I get it. When you’re desperately hoping to get pregnant, waiting around for your period can feel like the biggest obstacle in the world.

Whether you think you’re experiencing one-week pregnancy symptoms (which technically is just your period!), or you feel like that last round of bedroom activities did the trick, you might be wondering just how soon you can take a pregnancy test?

In fact, many mamas don’t even want to wait and see whether Aunt Flo decides to show up or not.

The desire to test early begs the question, however: just how accurate are pregnancy tests before a missed period? 

While many over-the-counter pregnancy tests might suggest they can factually predict whether conception has happened before a missed period, this isn’t always the case. 

During a study conducted by the University of New Mexico, scientists gathered the following information about the likelihood of identifying a pregnancy before your missed period: 

  • One Day After an Expected Period: 100% of Pregnancies Were Detected
  • On the Day of an Expected Period: 96% of Pregnancies Were Detected
  • The Day Before an Expected Period: 93% of Pregnancies Were Detected
  • Two Days Before an Expected Period: 81% of Pregnancies Were Detected
  • Three Days Before an Expected Period: 68% of Pregnancies Were Detected
  • Four Days Before an Expected Period: 42% of Pregnancies Were Detected
  • Five Days Before Your Expected Period: 33% of Pregnancies Were Detected
  • Six Days Before Your Expected Period: 25% of Pregnancies Were Detected

As you can see, the percentage of pregnancies detected goes down quite a bit the earlier you take the test before a missed period.

hands holding a pregnancy test

“I Got a Negative Pregnancy Test But Still Feel Pregnant” – What Does This Mean?

It can be incredibly disappointing to start experiencing “classic” early pregnancy symptoms and still have a negative result pop up on your test.

If you receive a negative pregnancy test but still feel pregnant, it’s worth considering whether you could be experiencing some other type of illness or condition that can cause pregnancy-related side effects, like missed periods. 

These include:

These reasons aside, it’s time to confront the elephant in the room–one of the most common reasons you feel pregnant but aren’t testing positive is because it’s just too soon to try a pregnancy test.

Wait a few more days, test again, and take it from there.

If you’re still concerned something else might be going on with your health, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor.

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What is the Best Pregnancy Test?

In answering the question, “How accurate are pregnancy tests?”, there’s one significant factor to keep in mind:

Not every over-the-counter pregnancy test is created equally!

If you’re interested in figuring out the best pregnancy test for your situation, we’ve polled our community, analyzed results, and came up with this great list of products.

1. Best Pregnancy Test for Early Detection

Aside from HCG pregnancy test results, the First Response Early Result takes the cake for the best pregnancy test overall.

This test has earned a reputation for providing accurate results that are unmatched by the competition. It’s been claimed as the best pregnancy test for early detection, with some users stating they’ve received positive results as soon as five days before a missed period.

It is worth noting that some people do mention false negatives. It’s hard to tell the circumstances behind these; it is possible that customers could have misused them. 

2. The Best Budget-Friendly Pregnancy Test

At the value price of $8.99 for 25 tests, AccuMed Pregnancy Strips take the cake for the most economical pregnancy test option.

Not only are they easy-to-use, but they provide quality results you can depend on. One downside to these is that some customers complain the results can be light and hard-to-read.

3. The Best Ovulation Predictor & Pregnancy Test Combo Kit

When it comes to helpful tips to conceive a baby, finding ways to track ovulation should be a top priority. 

That’s where the Easy@Home ovulation test strips and pregnancy tests come in!

This convenient kit provides 50 ovulation testing strips and 20 pregnancy test strips to help you through your pre-pregnancy planning journey. What’s great about this product is that it allows for more than enough of each item to make ovulation tracking and pregnancy testing convenient and hassle-free.

Are you wondering, “Yes, but how accurate are the pregnancy tests?”

The kits boast 99% accuracy for both ovulation and pregnancy testing. While some women did mention false positives, these usually occurred when things like chemical or ectopic pregnancies were happening.

4. The Most Environmentally-Friendly Pregnancy Test

In an age where our society is working harder than ever to protect our planet, it’s no wonder we’re on the hunt for a more natural pregnancy test alternative.

Enter Lia!

This innovative, environmentally-friendly pregnancy test is the first of its kind. It’s  flushable, biodegradable, and made of 0% plastic. Best of all, their website notes that the test offers 99% accuracy.

Since the Lia pregnancy test is still relatively new, there aren’t many reviews for the product. So far, customers seem to be pretty impressed with the results!

5. The Most “Easy-to-Read” Pregnancy Test

When I was trying to conceive and took my first pregnancy test, it was one of the traditional ones that featured the frustrating lines we’ve all come to know and loathe.

I stood staring at that test as if it was one of those Magic Eye books that would suddenly reveal the hidden image I was searching for. I thought I saw the faintest of blue lines but had no idea whether that proved I was pregnant or not.

And I couldn’t help but wonder–isn’t there a simpler way to do this?

If you’re looking for the most easy-to-read pregnancy test available, the ClearBlue Digital pregnancy test is the way to go.

You couldn’t ask for a better method of doing this whole pregnancy testing thing. The ClearBlue digital readings make it as easy as 1,2,3. The test will either read “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant”, it doesn’t get much more precise than that!

Here’s the catch, though–false readings and error messages are not unheard of with this product. 

So, if you receive a negative pregnancy test but feel pregnant, try waiting a few days and then test again.

Choosing the Best Pregnancy Test for Your Needs

Whether you’re looking for digital pregnancy tests or an environmentally-friendly alternative, the market is flooded with different sticks, strips, and options to help you during your conception quest.

Thankfully, ever-changing technology has made it so most of these tests offer better reliability than ever before. While HCG pregnancy test results are still the cream of the crop, over-the-counter products still provide quality results.

So, if you’re asking the question, “How accurate are pregnancy tests?” don’t let stress over the answer overwhelm you. There are plenty of great options readily available!

Have you found any particular product that’s worked best for you and your family in the great quest to figure out “how accurate are pregnancy tests?”

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